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Life as Participatory Performance Art

I am not a card player. As a team-building exercise at work some years ago, I had to play a card game in which I was given a sheet of rules and told to play with the others at my table. Each table’s loser was moved to the next table. Already anxious because I seldom play cards, my anxiety level rose as the game became more chaotic and confusing. I told the facilitator I was having an anxiety attack and had to quit.

Afterwards I learned that everyone had been given different rules. Essentially nobody was playing the same game–thus the chaos.

In a recent dream, I entered a sort of amusement park made up of different people doing performance art. As I proceeded from group to group with the expectation of interacting, I realized there seemed to be no standards or rules. I quickly played along, just enjoying the interactions, moving on when I was ready. One tall, rather imposing man (British–as was everyone else) was having trouble with his sleeves and his cuffs. I sorted it out for him, fixed his cuff-links and helped him on with his jacket. He then kissed me gently on the lips. It was neither sexy nor romantic, just very sweet. He looked like Michael Caine.

In other scenes there were babies and little children. Everyone was having a good time, and I just flowed with it.

What an empowering dream! Unlike the card game, either because of maturity (or Prozac) I was at ease with not knowing the rules or expectations.

As I awoke I thought about applying this to my waking life. I realized that everybody is operating on a slightly different set of standards and rules, and we have no idea exactly what they are.

As long as I act with a good heart, humor and integrity, it will be all right.

We are getting ready to move, and the process is overwhelming after 18 years in this house. This dream was so freeing because I contemplate the zillion tasks that need to be done–getting this house ready to sell, finding a new home, making the actual move–and it seems impossible.

So I remind myself to follow my own rules with a good heart, integrity and (this is hard) humor. Our agent tells us to do certain things to make the house sell quickly, and I’ll do my best with the resources I have.

In the meantime, we took a spring break trip to Jefferson, in East Texas, a historic Victorian town near Caddo Lake. Everything was blooming: azaleas, wisteria, dogwood, wildflowers, and we stayed at a beautiful B&B, the Azalea Inn, along with a couple of dear friends, so I’ll leave you with a few shots from the trip.

Our B&B, with its namesake azaleas in full bloom.


Wisteria in the Azalea Inn side yard.


Us in a park with the wisteria, which grows crazy wild in East Texas. It was actually cool enough for jackets!


A quilt in the Jefferson historical museum.

Watch for an upcoming post with details of our moving plans.




Gamma Gramma

This is my “off” week with grandchildren. We had Chloe all last week, and her cousin Bryan, 11, for a couple of days. We went to Hamilton Pool, one of those iconic Texas swimming holes that’s been loved to death. We had to wait an hour and a half just to get IN, in the hot car. The kids were more patient than I was. Even with limited admissions it was very crowded,  and the water is murkier than I remember. But the kids had fun and I don’t ever plan to go back.

Crowds at Hamilton Pool

Crowds at Hamilton Pool

I love these two "babes.'

I love these two “babes.’












Later they had a good time in the condo pool.

Inventing wrong ways to use a toy

Inventing wrong ways to use a toy…

... and enjoying it the right way.

… and enjoying it the right way, sort of.











In the morning they made yarn harnesses for Chloe’s stuffed lamb and Bryan’s stuffed manatee (named, of course, “Manny”) and bungee jumped them over the loft railing. They also got into the costumes and came down one time as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Next time Bryan wore the scary “Fly” costume and Chloe was a little devil, with red horns and tail. (This stuff has become so “normal” that I forget to take pictures. We’re taking them both to the coast later this month. I will take lots of pictures!)

When Chloe is here we do a lot of art. She wanted to do a big painting, so I gave her an 18×24 piece of poster board, a palette with acrylic paints she picked out, then spread a plastic table cloth on the floor and let her have at it. Even the palette and the water containers were pretty.

Even the water is pretty...

Even the water is pretty…

... and the palette (which I dried and kept).

… and the palette (which I dried and kept).













Showing off her work.

Showing off her work.


The result.

The result.













We also have fun with Lammy, who has appeared on these pages in the past. Lammy lives with us now, and she seems like a member of the family. Chloe likes to pick leaves from the patio herb garden to feed her (“ivy,” from the song Mairzy Doats). She made a chart of Lammy’s day.

Lammy's flowchart

Lammy’s flowchart










One morning she told me she dreamed Lammy tapped her on the shoulder and told her to wake up Grandma. Lammy was alive! We unzipped her back zipper (Lammy is a Scentsy, so she has a cinnamon pouch in her back), and found she had a beating heart, lungs and other organs. I nearly wept. Am I maybe just a bit too attached to that lamb?

The last night of her visit her mom dropped off their dog, Stella. I told her it was like having two Chloes–two sweet, crazy, rambunctious blond puppies. Her mom calls herself the Alpha Female. I briefly explained to Chloe the meaning of using the Greek alphabet, and said she must be the Beta. Later I realized that makes me the Gamma Gramma!


Who's the alpha?

Who’s the alpha now?


Lammy in her spot on the sofa, awaiting Chloe's return

Lammy in her spot on the sofa, awaiting Chloe’s return



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